Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
take to the hustings
To campaign, with an emphasis on delivering political speeches. A "hustings" was the platform on which candidates were nominated to British Parliament through the mid-19th century. If you want to be voted onto city council, you need to take to the hustings and talk to the people.
on the hustings
Campaigning for office. The noun hustings comes from the Old Norse husthing, for house assembly, which meant a council held by a king or other leader that included his immediate followers (rather than a large assembly of the people). In England husting became a court of law, specifically the highest court of the City of London. Eventually it was transferred, in the plural, to the platform where the city officials sat, and later still to the platform from which candidates for Parliament were nominated. From this last sense came its current meaning of the candidates’ platform for campaign speeches, or simply campaigning. A synonymous phrase with a far simpler history is on the stump. An Americanism dating from the 1700s, it alludes to a tree stump used as a platform by a frontiersman making a speech.